In Conversation with editor Irene Dhar Malik: “An objective and if necessary, ruthless, editor can benefit the film immensely.”

We recently caught up with the Irene Dhar Malik who has edited Onir’s upcoming movie Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz starring Zain Khan Durrani and Geetanjali Thapa in the lead role. It is a special film for us at MAM as our very own Abhishek Chatterjee has written the story, screenplay and dialogues. Irene also edits documentaries and has won a National Award for her work in the docu Celluloid Man.

So here we go:

Kuch Bheege Alfaaz is your 5th film with your younger brother, Onir. Can you tell us about your working relationship?
There’s a lot of comfort in working with the same director over and over, and not just because he’s my brother. You come to know each other’s style of working and expectations, and once you accept and respect that, it becomes a great working relationship. We trust each other and work towards making the edit as perfect as we can.

Did you approach the editing of this film any differently, given that it’s a delicate romance between a young couple targeted at a younger demographic than previous Onir films?
Before we began the edit, we discussed that we’d have a light feel for this film. Of course that wouldn’t be a feel imposed on the film during the edit, but what the film was always meant to be. The refreshing lightness was in the script, the way it was shot, and I’ve tried to be true to that, and perhaps embellish it with a few flourishes.

It is said that after the director, it is the editor who has the most control over the film. Would you agree?
A film is the director’s vision above all, but it is also a team effort. It’s not so much about control, but more about what an editor can bring to the film, namely a fresh perspective. By the time the shoot is over, the director has often gotten too involved and the editor can be more objective and if necessary, ruthless, in her/ his outlook. This can benefit the film immensely.

You have edited documentaries and have also won a National Award for the same. How does your approach change when you work on a documentary as compared to that on a feature film?
A feature film is bound by a script, while most documentaries don’t tie you down to a script. A documentary edit is more of a process of evolution, like an organic growth. The documentary film can take a different direction from what you had in mind when you set out. But with fiction, we know the destination, we try to find the most exciting route to getting there

There are more females in the editing department than any other technical department of a movie. Lot of them, like yourself, are doing very well, too. Do you think there is any particular reason behind this?
It’s a fact there are a lot of women editors. Perhaps it’s something to do with them being more patient and systematic! All said and done, we still have more male editors than female!






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